Feb. 14, 2022

How to design the natural home of your dreams - Sigi Koko - BS070

How to design the natural home of your dreams - Sigi Koko - BS070

Sigi Koko is the principal designer of Down to Earth Design, which she founded in 1998 to help her clients manifest their dreams  of living in a natural, healthy home.  She works exclusively on projects that are natural, energy-efficient buildings, on the forefront of sustainable design.  Every project functions in synchronicity with its environment, relating to seasonal cycles of sun,  wind, and rain to provide natural heating and cooling primarily from passive (free!) sources.  Her clients enjoy an average 50% reduction in total energy usage compared to conventional buildings.  She uses a palette of building materials that ensure healthy indoor space and minimal environmental impact.

This episode is the first episode from a two hour conversation with Sigi Koko. This episode is mostly focussed around the design of a natural home. We talk about how she is able to design a home that meets her clients dreams... even when they don't yet know them! 

Episode 71 is the second half of this conversation and focusses more on materials, myths and women in construction. 


Links for Episode 70:

 


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Sigi Koko Profile Photo

Sigi Koko

Sigi Koko is the principal designer of Down to Earth Design, which she founded in 1998 to help her clients manifest their dreams
of living in a natural, healthy home. She works exclusively on projects that are natural, energy-efficient buildings, on the
forefront of sustainable design. Every project functions in synchronicity with its environment, relating to seasonal cycles of sun,
wind, and rain to provide natural heating and cooling primarily from passive (free!) sources. Her clients enjoy an average 50%
reduction in total energy usage compared to conventional buildings. She uses a palette of building materials that ensure healthy
indoor space and minimal environmental impact.

Sigi translates each client's vision into a unique design that reflects their personality and lifestyle, while responding to the
surrounding landscape and climate. Sigi's uniquely collaborate design process provides a high level of information and support
that encourages her clients to engage fully throughout design and construction. She also teaches natural building workshops
that empower her clients to contribute creatively during the construction of their own home.

Sigi Koko holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where she learned fundamental design
skills. After earning her degree, she spent two years building homes to learn the practical side of how buildings are constructed.
This in-the-field experience helps her communicate well with builders. She spent two years completing her architectural
internship for HOK (Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum) in Washington, DC, where she provided "green building" expertise on
many projects. She also created their Healthy & Sustainable Product Database" and contributed to several HOK publications,
including the document now published as The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design (published by Wiley & Sons). Her
experience at HOK gave her the opportunity to explore extensive green building research and taught her how to create highly
detailed drawings and documentation.

Sigi has designed over three dozen strawbale buildings in the mid-Atlantic region, including Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania,
and West Virginia. All projects have received standard building permits. She has worked with building officials statewide in
Maryland to gain approval for strawbale construction and rubble trench foundations. Her projects have been mentioned in the
New York Times, featured on HGTV, and she has been featured in numerous print articles, including the Washington Post, the
Baltimore Sun, and Progressive Engineer.

Sigi Koko is nationally known for her expertise in sustainable design and natural building, she has lectured extensively on these
topics, and has written articles for numerous publications. Publications include Interior Graphic Standards Chapter on Green
Building Materials, "Five Steps to Keeping Strawbale Walls Dry" article in The Last Straw Journal, and "Rubble Trench
Foundations - a Brief Overview" article in Building Safety Journal magazine.